Australian students has declined compared to the nation’s international counterparts a new report has revealed, with the Federal Government demanding states and territories refocus on the basics.
The Federal Government said alarm bells should be ringing after the Programme for International Student Assessment found students recorded poor results in reading, maths and science.
Australia ranked 16th in reading, 29th in maths and 17th in science, with student performance declining by the equivalent of more than a full school year in maths and almost a full year in reading and science.
The grouped Chinese provinces of Beijing-Shanghai-Jaingsu-Zhejiang topped each of the three categories.
Education Minister Dan Tehan said the results were disappointing.
“Our students should be ranked among the best in the world,” Mr Tehan said.
“We should not accept anything less.”
He said the states and territories needed to be doing better.
“My message to the state and territory education ministers is this: leave the teachers’ union talking points at home and be ambitious,” Mr Tehan said.
“Our school systems also need to de-clutter their curriculums and get back to basics.”
However, Labor leader Anthony Albanese said it was a failure of the Federal Government.
“This is a big F, a big F for fail, and it will be of concern to every parent out there,” Mr Albanese said.
Mr Tehan said he would raise the matter at a meeting of the Education Council in Alice Springs next week.
He called on state and territory education ministers to support the entire National School Reform Agreement and include phonics as part of teacher training.
Around the country, the report showed maths performance had fallen in all states and territories with significant declines in South Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia and the ACT.
Labor’s education spokesperson Tanya Plibersek said Australia’s falling performance was “alarming.”
She said the government was at the heart of the failure.
“After six yers of failing our schoolkids, the Liberals must say how they’ll fix this serious problem,” Ms Plibersek said.